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Thanks for this piece to Jenny Shepherd of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS

NHS Cuts: local MP refuses calls for public hearings.

Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2017

All Calderdale patients will have to travel to Huddersfield for planned operations and cancer treatment. All Kirklees patients will have to travel to Halifax for acute and emergency care. Hospital beds and staff are to be slashed and there is little or no extra provision for GPs and community services to make up for lost hospital services. 

The Calder Valley MP,  Conservative Craig Whittaker, has failed to support constituents’ calls for public hearings into the highly contentious hospital cuts and changes plan that both Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Bodies are set to support at their meetings this week. An email from his constituency admin person says,

"As the matter has already been passed to the secretary of state as requested by the joint panel, he does not see that he can add anything further at this stage until the outcome of any decisions are known."

Although Halifax MP,  Labour Holly Lynch, at first replied to constituents' requests with an email that failed to support their calls, after attending the dire Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body Meeting this afternoon (12th October), Holly has agreed to write to the Independent Review Panel supporting constituents' demand for them to visit the area and hold public hearings. She is also sending a representative to the Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS meeting on October 13th, to discuss next steps.

These meetings will hear Clinical Commissioning Group officers recommend that the Governing Bodies tell the NHS England quango that they support Calderdale and Huddersfield hospital trust’s Full Business Case. This is based on proposals that the public consultation overwhelmingly rejected last year.

There is likely to be vocal public opposition at the meetings, to be held at the Textile Centre, Huddersfield at 3pm, Wednesday 11th October and at Shay Stadium, Halifax at 2pm on Thursday 12th October. 

The cost-cutting plans involve the dismantling of Calderdale’s and Huddersfield’s District General Hospitals, to be replaced with care in the community, one acute and emergency hospital in Halifax that will have to serve both areas, one 64-bed planned care hospital in Huddersfield, also to serve both areas, and a nurse practitioner-staffed urgent care centre in Huddersfield.

Calderdale and Kirklees Councillors’ Joint Health Scrutiny Committee have referred the hospital cuts and changes plans to the Secretary of State for Health as unfit for the people of both areas, unfit for the local NHS and inadequate in terms of consultation.

But the Clinical Commissioning Groups reckon all the 19 problems and flaws the Councillors pointed out have now been fixed.  

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS don’t think so. 

In a report to the Independent Review Panel, the group that is campaigning to keep both District General Hospitals, each with their full blue light A&E 24/7, have detailed over 15 areas where the Full Business Case is seriously flawed and/or at variance with the proposals that were consulted on last year.

They have asked each of the area’s six MPs to support their call to the Independent Review Panel to visit the area and holding public hearings where NHS and social care staff, patients and public can tell them what they think of the plans. The campaigners say this is the only way the Independent Review Panel can properly investigate the proposals.

So far only  Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax, Paula Sheriff, MP for Dewsbury, and Thelma Walker, MP for Colne Valley, support this demand. The Calder Valley MP has declined to support constituents’ requests, while appeals to Barry Sheerman, Huddersfield MP, and  Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen, seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Updated 12 October with info that Holly Lynch MP supports the Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS demand that the Independent Review Panel visits the area to hold public hearings into the hospital cuts plans and she is writing a letter to them to that effect; and her constituency assistant is attending the Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS meeting on her behalf.